Iranian Court Upholds Death Sentence For Programmer
An Iranian court has upheld its decision to sentence 35-year-old Saeed Malekpour to death for developing photo-uploading software used by porn websites.
Iran’s Supreme Court maintains Malekpour promoted such sites because his name was on the software. Amnesty International says Malekpour was unaware that his software was being used for pornography. He was sentenced to death in June 2011. The court accused Malekpour of “insulting and desecrating Islam.” On Tuesday, the court ruled to move forward with the death sentence, which could be immanent, Amnesty says.
Radio Free Europe reported Malekpour’s sister said the trial was unfair and her brother is innocent.
“All of Saeed’s activities were within the law,” Maryam Malekpour said to Radio Free Europe. “He didn’t commit anything illegal. Saeed just wrote a computer program that could have been used by these immoral websites or any other website. Unfortunately, without his knowledge, the program was sold and used to upload photos on these immoral websites.”
Malekpour, a Canadian citizen, was arrested when he visited his father in Iran in 2008. He was allegedly tortured for one year while he was held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Malekpour says he was forced into making a confession and gives details of his arrest and imprisonment on the site Persian2English.
He recounted being lured into making a false confession under the threat of torture or the torture of his family members. He wrote: “To prevent me from informing the magistrate that my confession was received under pressure, the interrogators threatened that the torture would worsen. Sometimes they threatened that they would arrest my wife and torture her in front of me.”
Iran’s draconian stance toward Internet freedom is well known. Earlier this month, the government announceda “Halal” Intranet, free of Western influence. The government aims to curb social-media-fueled protests, like those during Iran’s 2009 election. The Iranian government also said the CIA uses American-made video games as propaganda to promote U.S. actions abroad.
In the past, the “Iranian Cyber Army” has made it difficult for citizens to access certain sites outside of Iran. Iranians have had to use VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks – a technical solution to access restricted sites.
As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives and places from which we can access information grows, is it only a matter of time before citizens demand Internet freedom? Tell us in the comments.